Specially invited Guests,
Hon Cabinet Ministers Present;
Hon Members of Parliament;
Chairman and Members of the Board of Trustees;
Chairperson and Members of the University Council;
The Vice Chancellor of Kampala International University;
Vice Chancellors of Other Universities;
Deputy Vice Chancellors, Other Members of KIU Management, and staff of KIU;
Alumni of Kampala International University (KIU);
Continuing Students of KIU;
Ladies and Gentlemen; in your various capacities;
I salute you all and thank you for honoring the invitation to this great occasion where I am officiating as Chief Guest.
I am exceedingly humbled to be here as the Chief Guest, officiating at the 26th Graduation and Awards Ceremony of Kampala International University (KIU), held today Saturday 12th November 2022. KIU is my Alma Mater and for which I am grateful particularly to the School of Law, which added significant value to my journey to become the Rt. Hon. Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.
In 2018, I was seated here in the same place not as a Chief Guest but rather as a graduand of a Bachelor of Laws (LLB). I remember vividly, at the same Graduation Ceremony (which was the 18th KIU graduation function since the inception of the University), the Chief Guest was our beloved President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Gen. Dr. Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni.
I thank the KIU Board of Trustees, University Council, Management, staff, students, parents and guardians, and of course our special guests-the graduands for the warm welcome accorded to me as the Chief Guest.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am aware that the KIU School of Law is celebrating 20 years of existence, a landmark achievement indeed.
As has already been well demonstrated through the speech of the Chancellor/Vice Chancellor, the School of Law graduates are significantly contributing in the different sectors of society. I salute my learned colleagues and friends for not letting down their Alma Mater and continuing to diligently serve wherever they are.
Special Recognition of the Chairman Board of Trustees
In a special way, I want to recognize the Chairman Board of Trustees of KIU, Hon. Al-Hajj Dr. Hassan Basajjabalaba, who has a big heart for people of all walks. If one just considers the number of bursary beneficiaries that have been awarded through his kind hands and heart, he qualifies to be a parent to very many individuals, who to date are serving their countries in different aspects, while others are pursuing different academic programmes at KIU.
Mr. Basajjabalaba, we thank you and pray to the Almighty Allah to reward you abundantly and expand your empire to help more people and Uganda at large. We also acknowledge your landmark business acumen that opens very many doors to business opportunities, and putting you among one of the largest employers in western Uganda, with tea estates and other business ventures. We appeal to other Ugandans who may have the capacity to invest in philanthropic support as Mr. Basajjabalaba is doing, to learn from him to increase access of education and other support to the most deserving communities. Ladies and gentlemen here present, you may wish to know that giving brings blessings, and propels one to the next level of life achievement. Let us all strive to be on that short list of supporting those in need with however little we may possess or may have authority over.
Appreciating the University Council, and Management
Let me also thank the University Council for a good job well done in ensuring a good oversight role. I also acknowledge the University management under the able leadership of Prof Mouhamad Mpezamihigo, who has distinguished himself as a person who has built a formidable team, and reputation and taken KIU to the highest level of ranking and recognition. Congratulations Mr. Vice Chancellor with your team members with whom you run the University and wish you more success in the future.
Concern About Regulations That May Disenfranchise Girl Child, Women or Ladies
I was disheartened to read a KIU University memo circulating on social media that stated that student nurses and midwives would be barred from sitting their exams if they did not take a pregnancy test. This news spread all over social media. The Vice-Chancellor has explained this matter very well, that it has to do with the guidelines provided by the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Examinations Board (UNMEB). If indeed these guidelines still operate at this time, I call upon the relevant agencies, working with education institutions to review them with the aim of creating harmony with the rights of access to education. UNMEB, the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Health, and other relevant agencies should convene to address the gaps in the regulations and streamlining them to meet the constitutional rights of all genders.
I am glad the University has suspended the implementation of those guidelines so as to allow all qualifying students to sit for their national exams as supervised and implemented by UNMEB.
Support to KIU and Other Private Universities
I have heard the plea of the Vice Chancellor and other speakers at this function, seeking government support towards private providers of higher education. I wish to assure you that this will be considered. As you are aware, some private universities have already received some form of support. Since the government is now focused on Science, Technology, and Innovation, KIU is at a greater advantage to tap into the opportunities. I will discuss this with the Hon Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation to consider your requests. Your Science, Technology, and Innovation hub at the KIU Western Campus is well placed to benefit your schools of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, allied health sciences, Laboratory technology, Science education, engineering, and technology etc. Mr. Vice Chancellor you may follow through to actualize this promise I have made.
As you are already aware, the Uganda government through the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation is now providing universities and other organizations to come up with inventions and innovations that will address societal needs. I urge the KIU management to take advantage of this opportunity as it lasts. I am happy to note that the University continues to participate in the National Science Week exhibitions and seeks collaborations and partnerships at national, regional, and international levels so as to enhance benchmarking to help the institution enhance her research and innovations portfolio.
Today, KIU releases yet another batch of graduates into the world of work in the most difficult of times given the economic hardships resulting from long lockdowns, skyrocketing commodity prices, and generally tough times of the national and global economies. We are hopeful that what the graduands have acquired at KIU, will be the springboard of their success in the years to come.
I call upon all the graduands to consider their achievement today as a starting point to get themselves to the next level. For example, if you undertook a certificate then think of how you will advance it further to degree level and beyond. The same applies even to those who will be awarded PhDs, who should think of how they will contribute to new knowledge, pursue postdoctoral programmes, further research, and come up with different innovations in order to remain relevant to society. I would like you to know that, persons the age of 30 years and below, form the largest percentage of the population, with many challenges and a multitude of opportunities and that in some parts of the World, many inventions and innovations have been championed by young people. We are proud that even here in Uganda, you recently saw the young scientists who were part of the design team to launch Uganda’s first satellite launch.
Please, as KIU graduates, continue to be excellent ambassadors of your Alma Mater, since it has made a lasting impact and impression for the rest of your life.
Appeal to H.E. The President and Government of Uganda
It is common knowledge that there are huge shortages of human resources especially in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). I am aware that KIU is one of the Universities doing its best to attract quality, highly trained and experienced staff from all over the World. The government is committed to assisting higher education institutions regardless of whether they are public or private since the contribution made by both is geared towards national development.
I once again wish to congratulate the Chairman Board of Trustees, the Chairperson of the University Council, and the Vice Chancellor staff, students, parents, and other KIU stakeholders for steering the University to this success for this hugely successful graduation function and wish the graduands great success in their celebrations and the years to come. Grow your resilience to survive the tides of life as is the theme of today’
For God and my Country
Right Hon. Anita Among.
The Speaker of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.